RISK COMMUNICATION AND MISINFORMATION MANAGEMENT ON COVID-19
The Yilo Krobo Municipal Health Directorate in collaboration with ‘Breakthrough Action’, an NGO which works in partnership with the John Hopking University yesterday organized a training workshop to empower the Yilo Krobo Municipal Risk and Social Mobilization Team on misinformation or rumor tracking and response tools on COVID-19.
According to Mrs. Mavis Osafo, the program officer of ‘Breakthrough Action’, the objective of ‘Breakthrough Action’ is to support the Health promotion Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to ensure or promote social and behavioral change on malaria and other health related diseases to avoid further spread and indicated that “Breakthrough Action’ is currently working in Ten (10) regions and in each of the region, five (5) districts were selected by ‘Breakthrough Actiom’ to work with of which Yilo Krobo is a beneficiary. In order to empower people to overcome misinformation and rumors, ‘Breakthrough Action’ uses various tools including radio, education materials, focus group discussions and community engagement among others as its communication strategy.
The vaccines in general according to Mrs. Osafo help people to survive and avoid further spread of diseases and therefore the need to address any misinformation or rumor that may frustrate the COVID-19 vaccination agenda. To address misinformation or rumors on the COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccines and diseases therefore, ‘Breakthrough Action’ currently uses KOBO COLLECT, an app and/or the link https://kc.humanitariaresponse.info with the user name: mmr and password: Mmr@2020 to collect information in that respect from all the regions/districts it is working in, added Mrs. Osafo as she further stressed, that support given by ‘Breakthrough Action’ to the respective districts is contingent on the prevalence of misinformation or rumors on a particular disease in that district and urged members of the team to ensure, that though the focus currently is on COVID-19, the team members as well report on misinformation or rumors on any health related disease verbatim to Breakthrough Action via the KOBO COLLECT app, the usage of which the participants were taken through. Other facilitators who also took the participants through communications strategy in rumors gathering and reporting included Mrs. Bridget Anin, Deputy Director (Health Communications, Headquarters, GHS), and Mr. Stephen Anaman (Regional Health Promotion Officer, Eastern Region, GHS). Present at the training workshop was also the Chief of Party for ‘Breakthrough Action’, Mr. Sylvester Agbaya and the Yilo Krobo Municipal Health Director, Mrs. Irina Ofei who gave update on the COVID-19 cases in the municipality.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Hon. Eric Tetteh expressed his gratitude to BREAKTHROUGH ACTION and indicated that health is his priority and therefore committed to strengthening the relationship between the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly and ‘Breakthrough Action’.
Among some views shared by participants as reasons driven by misinformation or rumors why people refused to subject to the
COVID-19 vaccination were ‘the belief that the vaccine will alter their political allegiance’, possible ‘death’ and ‘infertility’ after taking the vaccine inter alia.